In less than a week I will be boarding the flight to head to my fourth new home in the past six months. Sure, it won’t be a permanent home, since I’ll only be in Rabat for a semester, but then again at this point in my life I don’t really seem to have a single permanent home anymore. This past summer was my last one in the Philadelphia area, my family’s home for the past ten years and where I have returned to for holidays since I started university in Washington DC. In August though I spent a week in Hartford, Connecticut in my parents’ temporary residence in our new city before I left in September for a semester in Strasbourg, France. Coming home from Strasbourg in December meant coming back to a different house in a different neighborhood than the one I left in August. And yet, in an unfamiliar house in an unknown area, I am surrounded by my family and our familiar routines and the trappings of our daily life, and I truly am home.
My new home in Rabat will be very different. It won’t be home home because I won’t be surrounded by the people who love and know me best. I will be surrounded by strangers in a country I’ve never been to before with an unfamiliar culture. But I am hoping that it will become a home.
After all, I started off the same way in Strasbourg, in a city I didn’t know in a country I had never been to before. But I soon learned my way around the city, able to navigate with the landmark of the increasingly familiar and beloved cathedral spire. I settled into routines with my host family and looked forward to dinner with them every evening. I got more comfortable communicating in French every day and by the time I returned to the States in December I had to remind myself to speak English when encountering strangers.
I had to leave Strasbourg I will always have the memories of my experiences there and it is a place where I will always feel comfortable. I hope to develop the same kind of home in Rabat too. I am looking forward to getting to know my host family, experiencing a Moroccan lifestyle and practicing Arabic. I’m excited to make friends with the other people in my program as we share experiences. I know that soon enough the medina will become familiar and I will settle into a routine of classes and activities. I can’t wait to discover what Arab, francophone Morocco has in common with my former host country France and my childhood home Egypt. I'm so glad for another chance to get to know a new unique place.
All this is not to say that I’m not nervous or hesitant about leaving. Adjusting to a new place can be tiring, and I don’t feel ready to leave home when I’ve really just arrived. But at least I know what will be here for me when I get back, and by that time I’ll have found another place to love in this great big world.
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<p>I am a long-time bibliophile, choir nerd, and language lover who isn't really "from" anywhere. The closest thing I have to a hometown is Ambler, Pennsylvania, where I lived throughout middle and high school, but I also lived in England and Egypt as a child, and my parents now live in Connecticut I now go to college in Washington DC!</p>